Consumerism as an american religion

My own research on consumerism supports the conclusion that the reason Americans remain attached to a consumeristic form of life is because it performs the religious function of providing them with an answer to the existential problem of meaning.

Morgan Chase Institute found that, except for top earners, U. The hands and sweat that made the object become invisible as the chain of production and distribution lengthen out, shutting out the maker from the profits of her production.

Ministers and gurus use mass media to disseminate their message via TV, radio, bookstores. This purchasing behavior may co-exist in the mind of a consumer with an image of oneself as being an individualist.

There is always the desire for more because each purchase only satisfies for short while. A study of year-old men shows that those with friendships are far less likely to experience heart disease.

Boom or Bust, Consumerism is Still America's Religion

Consumerism is the selfish and frivolous collecting of products, or economic materialism. Profound transformations in the definition of "the good life" have occurred throughout human history. A tragic consequence of consumerism is what it does to the average citizen. Typically, only one or two topics dominate these megalogues at any given time.

Another shows that life satisfaction in older adults is higher for those who participate in community service. Much of the debate over how to address the economic crisis has focused on a single word: There can never be enough inspectors, accountants, customs officers and police to ensure that all or even most of these transactions are properly carried out.

Analysis of religious labor reveals the material labor necessary for Christianity to sell a product. Recent scholarship, however, has questioned this neat division, arguing that the fluid relationship among commerce, consumption, and Christianity in the United States emerges from the historical co-development of capitalism and religion.

Simply put, the more we get, the less it satisfies and the more we want. Such normative change is possible, especially in times of crisis. What was needed to propel consumerism proper, was a system of mass production and consumption, exemplified in Henry Fordthe American car manufacturer.

Schools, which often claim to focus solely on academics, are actually major avenues through which changes in societal values are fostered. There was growth in industries like glass making and silk manufacturing, and much pamphleteering of the time was devoted to justifying private vice for luxury goods for the greater public good.

As a general trend, regular consumers seek to emulate those who are above them in the social hierarchy. All of this provides a background suggesting that consumer behavior and brand loyalty may be functioning psychologically in a manner similar to religion.

Whenever consumers purchase goods, they have these sign values. While corporate America reaped the ever-growing profits of the increasingly expensive boot and those modeled after its style, Doc Martens lost their original political association.

But when, on attempts to satisfy these higher needs through the simple acquisition of goods and services, consumption turns into consumerism -- and consumerism becomes a social disease. In an attempt to isolate the self-expressive variable, the researchers conducted another manipulation where prior to having subjects make their consumer choices they were asked to think about either the self-worth aspects of religion or the security aspects.

One sense of the term relates to efforts to support consumers' interests. In the 21st century there is an extreme focus on technology and digitization of culture.

Commerce, Consumerism, and Christianity in America

People turn to them for meaning. But it does call for a new balance between consumption and other human pursuits. Secularization in the Westfeatures a busy West Yorkshire street corner where a shuttered church sports the sign "Mike's Carpets.

As an example, Earnest Elmo Calkins noted to fellow advertising executives in that "consumer engineering must see to it that we use up the kind of goods we now merely use", while the domestic theorist Christine Frederick observed in that "the way to break the vicious deadlock of a low standard of living is to spend freely, and even waste creatively".

A humble travelling salesman trying to earn an income for his family turns into smug and prideful entrepreneur who essentially steals the name and business from the McDonald brothers. Consumerism is discussed in detail in the textbook Media in Everyday Life.

Christian critiques of consumerism usually focus on the dangers of idolatry - the temptation to make material goods the center of life rather than God. In a speech, John Bugas (number two at the Ford Motor Company) coined the term consumerism as a substitute for capitalism to better describe the American economy: The term consumerism would pin the tag where it actually belongs — on Mr.

Consumer, the. For consumerism, self-regard would lead the list. No. 2 in a listing of religious virtues would be joy with the associated notion of contentment.

Yet for consumerism, discontent is essential. Consumerism has now grown and evolved, and this negative version of consumerism is now a “popular religion” because it is affecting us directly, and affecting our destinies. With many “religious” aspects, consumerism is something that is now a major piece of the identity of the human race (Story of Stuff).

Consumerism was initially conceived as a logical system, with the concept of an assembly line to make all aspects of it smooth and connected. Analysis of religious products is often a byproduct of another project: materializing American religion.

By asking how religion takes on material form, in stained glass, images, parlors, and altars, work by scholars of material religion often reveals the role of commodification in American religious life.

Consumerism as an american religion
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The Crisis of American Consumerism | HuffPost